London’s first boutique-grand hotel has a new Executive Chef, Michele del Monaco, and a brand new menu for its Oval Restaurant.
The Wellesleys Oval Restaurant is a modern and sophisticated room on their ground floor that offers intimate dining; all immediately apparent once you enter the small room doused in a low blue light and adorned in mirror and padded walls.
Just as the building is a reinvigorated townhouse – Michele del Monaco offers up a modern twist on authentic Italian flavours. Raised in Caserta, he grew up surrounded by the finest ingredients and traditions of Southern Italy. Following three years working in Sardinia, he took the position of Executive Chef in one of the Rio de Janeiro’s finest Italian Restaurants. Following his love of Italian cuisine back to Italy, he joined the world renowned kitchens at the two Michelin stared Hotel Il Pellicano in Tuscany. Over his global career, del Monaco has evolved his cooking to incorporate the modern fine dining style whilst maintaining the authentic Italian concept inspired by his homeland. This style can be seen in The Oval Restaurant’s new menu which combines simple ingredients and fine presentation to evoke images of Italy.
During our visit we enjoyed a petite amuse bouche of foie gras. Personally I prefer something that cleanses the palette more but none the less it was a great way to guide us into the menu.
The first course was a Langoustine Carpaccio with crab and almond meringue – a dainty dish arranged beautifully, wonderfully light with a unique texture. We also had the Prawns in squid ink Ravioli with Lobster bisque which may have been my favourite dish for its creaminess and the flavour was on point. The almond meringue of the other dish may be too bold for some but the Lobster bisque and basil reduction was just right and quite more’ish. I’d love to see how Michele would expand this dish to mains without it becoming too heavy.
For mains one of us had the Swordfish and buffalo mozzarella whilst the other had the Lamb. The lamb was slightly tougher than we’d like but overall a good dish, perfect portioning and, as with all of Michele’s dishes, the presentation was stunning.
With it’s decadent interior, intimate dining and boasting Europes largest Cigar Humidor we’d say that The Wellesley should definitely be on your map for your next visit to West London. Entertain someone special and share one of their gorgeous petit fours boxes before exploring the rest of this little Knightsbridge gem. Michele will no doubt grow his menu into something very wonderful and place The Oval firmly on the foodie map for luxury dining.